Question about Series of Rolls = One Test, and Stakes in Sorcery

Two players engage in a duel of wits. Over the course of the duel of wits they throw multiple persuasion tests at eachother, but also intimidate, ugly truth and rhetoric.

At the end of the duel of wits, what advancements do they earn? My thought was that you earn a test for each skill you’ve used in the duel, but if you’ve done repeat use of a skill, you only get the one with the highest difficulty. So “You get a routine ugly truth, a difficult rhretoric, and only the highest of your three persuasion attempts, so a difficult persuasion test. And finally you get a steel test, for losing the duel”

I’d make the same call in a fight! conflict. If a player swings a sword more than once, they only earn one sword test, but if they switch to a knife and make a test with that, they get a knife test too.

Is this right?

My other question is about Saying Yes to sorcery. Is it a thing? Whenever someone uses sorcery something could go wrong. There’s always the chance that it blows up, - that you roll a line of traitors. In our last recorded session, the two sorcerous twins wanted to get out of the city for an afternoon, and one decided to go in falcon-shape, the other lept from roof to roof with witch flight. My thought was that there was nothing at stake really. They were just going out to the country to have a talk, away from the stink of the city, so I didn’t call for a test.

Should I have?

Your instinct is right on the money for the series of tests.

As for sorcerers, and their tests: I’d have made them roll. First, because I want all sorcery in my games to feel like it has teeth (this is a style thing) but also because running out of the city sounds like it’s something lots of people would find difficult, and having them fail and fall from rooftop to street would have amused the GM in me.

It is definitely a thing, and your call whether in that example. If you don’t have a good idea for failure results and it’s just about color, then Say Yes, don’t give out free Forte tests. :wink:

I could see the “say yes” option IF there isn’t anything to lose or contend with by using Sorcery (magic is both common and accepted, the city isn’t under lockdown, no one has designs on the characters, etc.).

However, some of my foundest story complications have come about from unwanted summoning and the wheel of magic.

As long as the mages aren’t using their Sorcery escape the city methods as an in game equivalent to “setting the sofa on fire” I would test it.

My intuition is coming from “cast Turn Aside the Blade every morning”, timeskip a month ahead - definitely do not have the player roll 30 Sorcery/Forte tests. :smiley: So there are times wizards do cast a spell without the player making a test, and I think it’s probably up to GM pacing concerns.

I think the biggest risk of saying no to Saying Yes on Sorcery is that it’s the only skill where the player can easily fish for obstacles for advancement, especially with Art Magic. Each spell creates a serious of rolls with known obstacles that a clever player can use to power up faster than other characters.

Want to use Falcon Skin to spy on a meeting in the woods? Go ahead! You already ferreted out the meeting time and place through a DoW, let’s keep going in that direction instead of taking a sidetrack through the Arcane.

Sure, it’d be fun if there was a horrible Mangled Transmission on a low-Ob spell, but saying yes to a spell (even one with a high Ob) keeps focus on moving the story forward and not gaming the advancement system.

In the first BW game I GM’d, I had a giant magical Forte-draining field around a ruined city that taxed Forte every <time period> with different Obs based on how deep you were. Or, as my players thought of it, all the Forte advancement a couple of Dwarves could hope to ask for.

Maybe for a Fixed Obstacle spell that is cast often, but there should always be a price or risk unless magic is rather ordinary in your game.

I would suggest that “say yes” to magic would be appropriate if the mage had ample time to prepare AND be able to generate twice the spell obstacle in dice were they to actually roll (so a B4 in Sorcery could be doubled to a B8 by casting carefully), this would then allow for the 50/50 statistical chance of black shade dice, without counting on exploding sixes.

Of course, there is still the matter of spell tax to contend with.

I disagree. While sorcery always has mechanical consequences, there aren’t always narrative consequences to a failure. To use OP’s example, if the wizards are using spells to exit the city as a bit of dramatic flair, then why call for a test? If they fail, they just walk out of the gates like normal people. Under different circumstances – they’re fugitives, or being pursued by a mob, or just generally trying to leave the city undetected – by all means call for a test. But without narrative consequences, failure doesn’t raise the stakes – and calling for tests just serves to let Sorcerers advance more quickly than everyone else.

To me, it would depend upon the reason for using magic in the first place.
Again, I could see the Say Yes to magic if there isn’t anything for the pc’s to contend with such as people acting against them, city watch has evoked a curfew and closed the gates, or if sorcery is supposed to be inherently dangerous or even illegal, then there’s always a possibility that something goes wrong.

If none of these things apply it would revert back to the old axiom from the Abstraction chapter in the MaBu “No setting around your castle setting the sofa on fire”

I guess I just don’t see the inherent consequences of sorcery (Tax and Failed Casting), on their own being enough to call for a test if the task is otherwise inconsequential. Lots of tasks can be dangerous. I think the example the Adventure Burner/Codex uses is running along the railing of a bridge over a ravine. That’s incredibly dangerous, but that on it’s own isn’t reason to call for a Test.

My rule of thumb is, if the players have a close alternative that doesn’t involve a test, then you should probably Say Yes. If the players could walk out of the city without a test, then testing Sorcery is basically setting their couch on fire